European Union urges Russia, Turkey, Iran to uphold ceasefire in eastern Ghouta

In Syria, Foreign Powers' Scramble for Influence Intensifies

"The scale of the government's indiscriminate military attacks against eastern Ghouta, an area with a civilian population of 400,000, can not be justified on the basis of targeting Jabhat al-Nusra fighters", Feltman told the Security Council.

Turkish government spokesman Bekir Bozdag said Turkish authorities claimed that the United Nations resolution does not apply to the Afrin offensive since it excludes operations against terror groups.

Lowcock said trucks loaded with supplies have been poised to go to 10 besieged areas including Douma, the main town in the enclave, since Saturday.

"During the truce, the ceasefire is nearly enforced", said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman, adding that eight civilians were killed in strikes before and after on Wednesday. Moscow and Damascus accuse the rebels of preventing the movement of civilians and aid across a humanitarian corridor established by the government, but the rebels deny the charges.

"Unless this changes", he declared, "we will soon see even more people dying from starvation and disease than from the bombing and the shelling".

But Russia's ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, said the five-hour pause, a window in which humanitarian supplies could be delivered by the United Nations and other aid groups, was a merely practical device that could transition to a longer and sustained cease-fire. He did not say when the civilians had managed to leave. "Humanitarian corridors need to be well planned and must be implemented with the consent of parties on all sides", said Robert Mardini, the ICRC's Middle East director.

Fighting on the ground raged through Russia's daily five-hour truce, though there is no sign Russian Federation was involved.

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Residents have said they do not trust the truce. At least 18 fighters from Jaish al-Islam, Eastern Ghouta's dominant anti-regime faction, were also killed, the Observatory's Abdel Rahman said.

Sweden's deputy ambassador Carl Skau, speaking on behalf of resolution sponsors Sweden and Kuwait, also declared: "A five-hour cease-fire does not meet the requirements of the resolution".

Early Wednesday, before the daily "humanitarian pause" took effect again, Syrian forces also pounded Eastern Ghouta with air strikes and artillery fire, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Russian Federation has instead called for daily five-hour local ceasefires to establish what it calls a humanitarian corridor so aid can enter the enclave and civilians and wounded can leave.

Amidst conflicting reports about developments in Eastern Ghouta, US and Russian Federation were critical of each other's policies and perceptions. Have you had influence to bear on those whom you view as the moderate opposition?

But Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia defended the attacks.

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